‘Til Death (Do Us Part) blends sketch, improv, audience interaction and love on stage at the Monarch in Toronto
Taking over the main floor of Toronto’s Monarch Tavern, ‘Til Death (Do Us Part) is an interesting amalgam of sketch comedy with improv elements. The show introduces audiences to the fictional Canada’s Cupid Corporation, a company seeking to take the unlucky in love and transform them into the ultimate partner.
The production follows a young woman’s experience faltering at the altar as she’s about to get married, and her following progression through Canada’s Cupid Corporation’s program. There’s a little bit of dancing, a little bit of singing, a little bit of audience participation and a whole lot of wacky hijinks.
There were some wonderful (and wonderfully hilarious) moments in this show that surprised and delighted me. In a scene where Director and lead actor, Lauren Griffiths, is interviewing to be accepted into CCC’s program, she brings a boisterous energy that’s a nice contrast to the almost robotic portrayal of the CCC nurses. I especially liked the physical comedy of Griffiths fast-forwarding through the interview, drastically shifting from calm to paranoid to hysterical.
I also appreciated the risks the production takes, especially with its audience participation and improv elements. Between two awkward first dates and an audience Q&A section, I think the actors got pretty lucky with the ‘volunteers’ they honed in on the night that I was in attendance. But I could tell, based on their reaction times and quick wits, cast members Tara Federko and Jessalyn Ferguson would be able to suss out some laughs regardless of their chosen victims for the evening.
Another risk, without giving too much away, is the way the show ends. It’s definitely unexpected, though my date for the evening and I couldn’t agree on whether or not we thought it was the best choice, it was definitely a thought-provoking one.
Overall, I think this show has a lot of potential. While I did enjoy it, I do feel as though it could use some tightening up in both dialogue and pacing. The ending especially dragged down a lot of the energy that the bulk of the performance had built up. I think this production has set out to make a commentary on dating, on love and on the expectations we each have of the ‘ideal mate’, and while it does succeed in some ways, I think there’s still an envelope to be pushed.
- ‘Til Death (Do Us Part) plays until November 19, 2016 at the Monarch Tavern (12 Clinton Street)
- Shows run Thursday – Saturday at 7:30 pm
- Tickets are $18
- Tickets can be purchased online
Photo of Lauren Griffiths by Jordan Laffrenier.